Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Year End Review in Photos

Costa Rica

Grandson Grayson's 2nd Birthday


Babysitting in Las Vegas

Spring on the ranch

Meet Grandson Zane

Cattle Round-Up

Meet Grandson Graham

Summer at the falls

Backpacking in the Sierra Mountains

Final farewell to my mom

Fall calves

Family Thanksgiving

The big freeze of 2013

It was fun and bittersweet to flip through our calendar and browse through the photos of the year.  A couple things I noticed about 2013 was that I didn't take as many photos as usual and we were gone from home a lot.  While the photos displayed here do give some sweet highlights to our year,  they leave out many moments, many emotions, many choices made.  A few of these I'd rather forget.  
Now,  into 2014 we turn with hopeful faces to the rising son.  Happy New Year. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Friday, December 20, 2013

Beautiful Days

 All I can say is that we have been having beautiful days here this week.  Dry, dry, dry, but lovely nonetheless.  Well, we do get a nice blanket of fog most mornings and every drop of moisture does help, so I guess it's not completely dry.   It is so strange to have only had one significant rain thus far.  Very strange.  I keep thinking the pattern has to break, but still no rain in the forecast. 

 This is me and Perse.  She is called Perse because  she had perseverance and survived on hardly any milk for the first couple of months. Her mama, Bessie,  had 3 quarters of her udder not working and we didn't know it.  I should have caught the hungry gleam in the calves eye sooner, but she worked that one teat like nobody's business.  As it was, I brought her and her mama in and supplemented her with a bottle.  Eventually, the mom had to go, but for a while, little Perse had two mamas.   She still likes loving on and I'm always happy to give her a scratch and a hug.

 Mr. Johnson was not hand raised by us, but we did buy him when he was young and kept him around the house.  He is a very gentle soul and follows us around.   I don't go in for the hugs with Mr. J. as one big sling of his head and I would be down for the count.  I scratch from a distance.  He especially likes to be scratched behind his ears. 

The horses are kicking up their heels and enjoying life.  Hope you are too. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Cold and Dry

It's been cold and dry here since the snow last week.  One of our stock ponds froze over.  Mark chipped out a piece, and it was over 3 inches thick, so we've been playing around on the ice.  "Iceskating" in our shoes or sliding on an old boogey board down the bank onto the frozen water.    There is still patches of snow too.   

While we've been having fun, we've also been a bit worried.  We have basically no grass for the cattle.  First time in our 10 years here where we actually need to feed.  It's a big responsibility and a big cost.  We knew it was going to be a long winter, so we bought more hay this year.  With the increase in the hay cost and buying more hay, we have actually spent double the amount we usually spend. We are beginning to think we are going to need more.

In September we had a good rain and it brought up grass and we were hopeful for a miracle fall.  It's happened before.  Early rains bring up grass and more rain and temperate weather brings on a good stand for the cattle.  This year though it rained and then the spigot turned off and the grass died.  First time we've seen that.   We were talking to an old timer the other day and he said he has never remembered it being this dry in December.  It kind of sends shivers down my spine.

We've sold off a couple old cows who lost their calves, but we might need to sell more.  I feel bad for them, but it's the reality.  Hay is expensive.  One nice plus of feeding the cows every day though has been how much gentler are already gentle cattle are.  Petting a lot more than just my pet cow Perse and our pet bull Mr. Johnson.  Gotta look on the sunny-side.  That's what I always try to do anyway and in the big scheme of things our life is good and we are alright.  

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Snow Day

What yesterday only looked like  a sprinkling of  powdered sugar across the land, turned into 3 inches over night.  We always feel a bit like little kids when we awaken, open our blinds and see a world transformed into black and white.  Later, as the sun crept into the scene, we had a lovely pastel water color painting.   After breakfast was eaten we had to go out and play under the guise of feeding the cows. 

The horses looked especially lovely in the field of white:

The cows are always happy to get a hand out:

The bare trees almost looked like they were made of crystal:

We were all in very festive mood:

Friday, December 6, 2013


We had a sprinkling of snow today and I don't think my lettuce liked it much.

 I do think our grandson, Grayson, would have liked it.  He visited over Thanksgiving and he had a ball on the ranch.  He is old enough now to enjoy it. We look forward to future years when our other two grandsons, Zane and Graham, will be able to run around too.  Following are some of our Thanksgiving photographs to give you the gist of our weekend of fun.

Our home in autumn

Grandson Zane and Cristina

Son Zac and his Friendly Fred

The Potato Peelers

Zane and his car cruising the house
Grayson helped pick the apples and peel them for pie.
 Johanna and Sarah out did themselves on pies.  Yummy
Before the gluttony began.
The  meal, with delicious wild turkey and quail.

Turkey Coma
Getting our Christmas tree.  Grayson wanted a 200 foot tree, but settled on this one.
Just right.

The guys took a day to go crabbing on Humboldt Bay in Eric's boat.
They got their limit.

Nightly card games.  Mark is wearing his poker face. 

Sarah and her son (our grandson)  Graham.
Grayson loved the quad and took ride after ride.
He liked sitting on the horse too.  Next time he will get to go for a ride.
Zane sitting on Macho the friendly donkey.
Hot tubbing
One of Grayson's favorite chores.
Feeding the cows was his favorite.

Mr. Johnson, the bull, eating from his hands.

Happy bubbles to you too .....